Future Retail has filed an application before National Company Law Tribunal, Mumbai, seeking directions with respect to gaining access to the inaccessible stores and warehouses of FRL, and connected consequential reliefs, it said in a stock exchange filing.
The company’s resolution professional also requested the bankruptcy court to exclude 90 days from the company’s corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP) period.
The RP of the Kishore Biyani promoted defunct retailer has approached the Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to extend the timeline for the revival process from 16 April to 15 July for concluding its CIRP, according to the filing.
FRL’s assets including unsold inventory and property are housed either at its own stores or third party warehouses, and are needed by the resolution professional of the retailer for valuation and accounting purposes.
Biyani’s flagship company FRL, which operates large format hypermarket Big bazaar, has been undergoing insolvency proceedings since last July, although it has failed to attract buyers. The company has admitted claims of Rs 19,185 crore from financial creditors.
About 49 companies including Adani, Reliance, London-based retailer WH Smith and Jindal Power are in the race to acquire FRL, it said on Monday. Future Retail’s court-appointed resolution professional held a second round of expressions of interest since the first did not have enough participants.
Lenders of Future Enterprises Ltd (FEL) refrained from referring the company for a corporate insolvency process in the hope that Biyani would sell part of his stake in the insurance business by the end of this month and distribute the sale proceeds among lenders.
The trouble at Future group initially started with the nationwide lockdown in March 2020. Most of the malls where Future stores were located remained shut. Subsequently, it suffered another setback in April 2022 after it failed to clinch a Rs 24,713-crore deal with Reliance Industries to sell its retail and wholesale business in a slump sale.
Future’s deal with Reliance collapsed after secured lenders voted against the scheme of arrangement. Lenders said they did not receive any clarity on how much money they would get from Reliance after it took possession of more than 900 large-format Future Retail stores. Reliance took over these stores in a phased manner, beginning 2022, due to non-payment of rentals by Future Group.